Friday, June 15, 2007

Getting Stuff Done - Scheduling

So far, we’ve gone through the stages of deciding exactly what the goal is, and deciding whether we’re seriously committed to doing the work to meet it. The final thing we need to do is to provide some kind of ticking metronome to remind us to get it done.

The most common approach is to set up a schedule. It’s pretty simple:

  • There are a variety of programs you can use for scheduling, such as Open Workbench. If you’ve got less than 100 items in the list though, I recommend just using a spreadsheet.
  • Break down your goal into chunks, and predict/decide when you expect them to be complete.
  • Break down the tasks to a pretty fine level of granularity. When scheduling a large project, it's common to keep tasks under three days each.
  • You’re committing to doing your very best to meet the schedule, doing whatever effort it takes to hit the dates or beat them.
  • The schedule kind of takes the role of a person; someone telling you what is expected of you, beating the drum.
  • You can adapt the schedule if really needed, but you need the will power to not just stretch it out because you’re being lazy.

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